June 24: Started off with meeting John at the US Forest headquarters to pick up my Coleman stove for the weekend. I was able to talk to Kimber in the morning, which was awesome. I did not like saying "Talk to you Monday." I will need to get used to it and it's only for the summer. It was steadily raining while I was driving over so John thought there was no rush to get to the campsite in the rain. I wasn't arguing. We waited it out and covered some administrative stuff in the office. We got up to the campsite around 12. First thing we did was check out this supposedly natural spring in the middle of the woods at the end of the campsite that Tammy (VIS volunteer told us about). We used the pretty advanced Garmin GPS unit John had and you could run a mobile version of ArcGIS on it called ArcPad. This allowed us to add the spring as a point to one of the layers right then and there. I will need to email my GIS professor about that one. After we just walked and chatted through the backwoods of the campsites seeing what we had to work with as far as the area behind without stepping into the official "Wilderness." John was on his way around 1 and I headed to work for a couple hours dispersing some of the logs at campsites 14-24. It was kinda wet and cold so it wasn't as pleasant as my first weekend. I ended up running at 3:30 and explored the Pemi East Trail to the Wilderness Trail and Thoreau Falls Trail. Tim would not enjoy this run. Way too many blowdowns (trees fallen down in the middle of the trail), river or stream crossings and other things to obstruct a runner along its path. It was a mix between the steeplechase and basic boot camp awry training (at least from what I've seen in the movies). Ankles are strengthening up by almost rolling them 10 or so times on this run and others. I decided to not rinse off after this run because it was just too dang cold out. So I didn't, but man did I smell ripe by Monday.
A group with two kids was at the campsite so before I ate dinner, I swung by to greet em. One of the guys was pretty short with me. Instead, I said my closing remarks and went to make myself some grub. Dinner did not go according to plain. Difficult to coordinate my rice and ravioli dinner. Ravioli is already cooked and the rice takes way too long cook. I made my hot chocolate too early so it was almost warm chocolate for dinner. The stove burners both went out towards the end of cooking everything so I freaked a little. But I ate the massive amount of rice with my ravioli together, yes together. Carbed up big time for Saturday's run. Some positives out of the meal were that I opened a can in record time, 3:45. I beat the old record by a landslide. Also I have learned to truly be a member of the clean plate club. The less that is on my plate and in my cookware, the less I need to scrub when it comes to cleaning. Also, the less likelihood of any remnants of food in the woods that will attract animals. After dinner, I made one last round to the bathroom and the campsites. One of the guys from the group with the kids asked me about the forecast for the next morning, but I didn't have much to say other than a chance of showers. It was nice at the time we were talking, then a huge thunderstorm rolled in out of nowhere and kept me in my tent for the rest of night.
Summary: Run was a fun exploration one up the Pemi East Trail to the Wilderness Trail then Thoreau Falls Trail. 81:37. 42:20 out, 39:17 back. I'll call it 11+. Might of been more, but who knows. I always go on the lower end of mileage. There was a definite chill in the air that kept my forearms cold the entire run. The course might be some good training for my possible steeple debut next spring at some small meet like Fitchburg. There wouldn't be any pressure on the line. Oh wait, my college coach, Pete Thomas, screaming at me. So maybe not Fitchburg.
June 25: Pretty bad night sleep with the rain and thunder most of the night. Set my alarm for 6 and 7. Rolled out of bed at 7:15ish. Got breakfast going, oatmeal with raisins and the free bagel some campers left me last weekend. It is always so quick to whip up breakfast because of the Jetboil. It's amazing. Boils water in minutes, depending on how much you are heating. I am getting fairly smooth at meal preparation (I'll get into more detail later). Cleaned up and headed off to clearing the logs and greeting people like these two bikers looking for Franconia Falls. This morning I had on a few layers because it was a bit nippily out. I had rain pants and a jacket on, which color coordinated just by chance. Shed some layers as soon as I warmed up, which took one step of the shovel and I started to sweat. Worked until 12 and did my classic run to Franconia Falls. Another enjoyable run with a dip in the water half way. After the run, I decided to jog to the "Ranger Pool," which is about 1/2 mile away from my campsite. I tossed on my water shoes and went on a mini cooldown. I sorta dove into the water and thought it would be a great idea to go completely under. Good God! Literally, I almost went into shock after because I couldn't breathe from the coldness. Walked right back to my campsite to change and head back to work at about 2:15. I attacked the posts today. The first one was a bit annoying because I wasn't entirely sure how I should be going about the whole thing. Luckily, I perfected my skills each post I did. So much that I went back to the first post to redo it. The basic process it pulling the post out of the ground, which is fairly easy because they aren't securely in there. Dig out a hole about 18-24 inches deep and about a foot wide. Place the post back in. This is the tricky part. I need to place rocks strategically around the post so it is stable AND level. Level both left to right and back and forth. It can be time consuming, but I got it! No worries! Finished up around 6. I didn't complete all the posts just 15-24. I was gonna rinse off again, but I didn't feel like freezing my butt off for a 2nd time in a day. Before any dinner preparation, I cleaned out the two toilets at the end of the campsite. So I did. No complaints, pretty simple stuff. I throw some of this "sawdust" in each toilet to help with the smell, spray the toilets seats and the base of the toilet, wipe it down, replace the TP if needed, and sweep out any dirt. I have goggles and latex gloves to protect myself. Ain't nothing getting in my body! I was a little OCD and switched the TP rolls around so they all of em roll towards you (the only way they are supposed to go) and largest to smallest roll (smallest being closest to the occupant of toilet). Its the little things that count. I obviously washed my hands before any handling of food. This meal was way faster and smoother than the night before. Total time 34:12.07. Splits: 27:14.58 for cooking and devouring, 6:57.49 for clean up. No problems or speed bumps. Stomach was satisfied. Though the refried beans, no joke, looked like a heaping pile of dog poo. Still ate it cuz I'm a man! Waited for these campers to return and maybe some new ones. Nothing. So I went to bed.
Summary: I think the run to Franconia Falls will become my staple run for Saturdays. Its just a relaxing run. I worked the last mile or so and made it back from the bottom at the bridge in 17:40. New record by 46 seconds. I am gonna try to get down to sub 17 this upcoming weekend or the next. I have the Four on the Fourth in Keene on Monday.